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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"We interrupt this program..."

I heard a rumor that the blog police are on a witch hunt.  They're gathering up slacker bloggers, and it won't be pretty--bonfires, guillotines--parts will sizzle; heads will roll.  Beware.  I, for one, will not be caught with my guard down.  I'm cranking it back!  I've been in this position before.  I take a long break.  It becomes easier every day to ignore that little voice--Madd, Madd...this is your blog.  Where are you?  What about me?  I don't think I am unique.  Most bloggers have retired.  Perhaps some other  fancy social medium calls them away.  I'm not cool enough to even know what those mediums might be, so I button up my high top boots and carry on--a victim of my own best intentions gone awry.  No penalties if you stop really.  I just plain wonder what happened to the bloggers I used to follow.  What about that gal in NYC who had the handicapped child in an institution that she used to visit all the time?  Her marriage bit the dust, and then the blog stopped.  Or what about that gal with the 6 kids?  She sloughed off her husband as well and moved to Texas.  From there it was a quick trip to complete silence.  I think she was even an award winner!!  Who said that a husband was a prerequisite for writing a blog?  And Miss?  Baby # 3 sucked her right out of cyberspace.  That pediatrician who was such a dynamite writer???  My daughters???  My sons???  One by one.  Gone.

Actually the truth is that I'm writing this for my drooling days--when I sit around and knit and fixate on days gone by when I could still put a noun or two with a snappy verb and make coherent thoughts.  Those days will end, and I'll have my published blogposts to remind me of this and that.

So it's a new year.  Paco and I are still in China.  We teach first year PhD students at Peking University--China's Harvard.  That ALONE should make me giddy to blog.  Plenty of material.  For instance:

Topics Covered in Oral English Classes on American Culture
student life
national parks
Amish (yes, they are VERY interested in Amish!)
child raising
Impressions of China

We go deep.  For a whole week we talked about Life's Greatest Questions--where did we come from, does God exist (light on that or I get in trouble), is there life on other planets?  In return, they talk to me all about China, their homes, their fields of study (philosophy, geology, biology, chemistry, environmental science, Maoism, botany, folk medicine, ecology and some hybrid studies like high energy theoretical physics or even biochemistry.  And so it goes.  Sometimes we close the door and discuss dating, sex, and marriage. They love that.  I've conditioned them.  When I start walking for the door they move forward in their chairs and are all ears.

The students are charming.

I hope I've done due diligence to the witch hunters and at least bought myself a little more time.

On the Road Again--Revisiting the Silk Road

Fares in a muslem bazaar in Urumqi.

Turpin.  Jiahoe Ancient City

Here's an interesting mix of castle designer, cookbook writer, West Indies humanitarian missionaries, and fruit farmers!  We're all equally overwhelmed and awed by finding ourselves in China.  What the ???

The faces tell the story.


A couple of old geezers just traipsing around.

Stopping off at a private vineyard.

One of my readers (with whom I also share a gene pool) complained that my blog is fixated on mops, brooms, kids, and camels.  I'm thinking of focusing on snouts for awhile.  Here's at least one.

The kindest eyes!

School's out!

No seatbelts, and that driver looks what?  Ten?

We were on the tour bus when we passed this semi full of sheepskins being unloaded.   Simultaneously we yelled, "STOP THE BUS!!!" and were given a 10 minute photo break,

or we would have missed this!!

Mogao Grottos.  Pictures were prohibited, so I pirated from google.

These little sisters were jumping around down below us trying to get out attention.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley